ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
Dear brothers and sisters,
These past several days, Alvin and Tom and myself, were in meetings with Love Singapore pastors in Malacca. It was a joy to see the unity movement advancing and making progress.
There were talks by a Taiwanese pastor on evangelism and witness. This was a welcome encouragement and challenge to us Singapore pastors as we have before us the Celebration of Hope, personal witness on a mass scale in May.
Besides that, there is an initiative called Alpha Everywhere, aiming at 1,000 Alpha runs in churches, homes and the marketplace in 2019. They hope these runs to be done before or after the Celebration of Hope. Season 1 is March 2019-May 2019 and Season 2 will be July 2019 to September 2019. WRPF English congregation has already scheduled a run for season 2.
These are exciting days as we see that our theme for the next three years, “Be My Witnesses” dovetails with the Love Singapore movement’s. Do pray, love and serve, and be a witness.
We are thankful for what God has done among us in 2018. It was over and above what we had anticipated.
The new financial procedures for greater transparency and accountability had been painful to apply the previous two years, but has now taken root. The projected deficit of about $200,000 never happened by the grace of God. We now have a surplus. And on top of that about $220,000 was raised and used for the renovation of the ZXFET worship hall. (How the GNK managed to continue its heartfelt ministry to children in cramped quarters is another amazing feat to praise God for).
We have a fresh batch of preachers after rigorous training and exposure. God has raised young adults to catch a vision for missions: Joel & Joanne and Simone attending DTS(YWAM) and Bevelyn working with Tamar. To top it all, Alvin joined the pastoral staff.
In terms of leadership training, all the pastors have gone through a study of Emotionally Healthy Leadership by Peter Scazzero, which we hope will lay new foundations for a contemplative-active leadership. We must remember that the Holy Spirit has gifted the church with this gift of prayer and we need to steward and guard it.
I eagerly watch and pray to see what God will be doing in 2019. GOD IS WITH US. BE BLESSED, BE ASSURED, BE PATIENT.
ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
Ethel Shin will go on sabbatical during the month of November 2018. She has been serving in full time ministry for seven years. As ministry staff, she is entitled to a month’s sabbatical after every six years of service. This is paid leave of one month for her to rest, be restored and renewed.
Ethel has applied for unpaid leave for an additional three months from 1 December 2018 to 28 February 2019, as she felt she needed more rest and time for processing. As her supervisors, Ps Thomas and Snr Ps Kenny also felt that she needed it and we have the staff strength to cover her duties for that period. The Board of Elders has approved their recommendations.
Please pray for Ethel during this time, that the Lord will lead her to pastures green and waters still, restore her soul, guide her in paths of righteousness, and fill her cup to overflowing (Ps 23).
SP KENNY CHEE
ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
2018 will be an exciting year. One of the major happenings that will take place is renovation. GNK and ZXFET will be swapping halls and a cry room will be built. While the plans and budgets are being finalized we want to begin sharing information.
The swap of halls will be beneficial to both GNK as well as the Mandarin congregation. There are benefits to both people groups. For ZXFET, they will be more breathing space for the members to enjoy, and there will be that ready room next door (#03-12), for them to have fellowship and to prepare food (without disturbing the worship).
The Good News Kids have been responsible and diligent all these years, but as with many other Sunday Schools in churches around the island, they are faced with fewer children to serve. The low birthrate in our Primary schools is affecting the churches too. One practical gain of the swap will mean closer proximity and convenience for church members with children. Their children are on the same floor and a minute away.
We have wonderful couples who are having children and need a cry room. They prefer it in the worship hall and we want both parents and infants/toddlers to be able to be with the worshipping community. With more young couples getting married the need for this will only be greater in the coming five years.
All three congregations will be raising funds for the renovation project. We have given you early notice so that you can pray and apportion your budget in wise stewardship. The estimated renovation will cost about $250,000. About one fifth of this amount has already been covered by the late Amy Koh’s estate and a donation by another well-wisher from the ZXFET. We hope to raise the amount between now and the end of May and all money and cheques put in an “ang-pow” (red packet) will go towards this renovation. Although an “ang-pow offering” will be taken on Sunday, 18 February during the Chinese New Year service, members can also start giving from next Sunday towards this worthy project. May you experience the joy of giving generously. You will not lose out. God promises that the generous will themselves be personally blessed and rewarded by God.
Cavelyn Tan has served diligently in the worship ministry since 1997. She served in many roles: vocalist, worship leader, and for many years as head of the worship ministry. Her leadership was marked by meticulous work, a passion for excellence, and a care and concern for those who serve with her. As a leader, she believes strongly in mentoring the next generation.
She has been handholding Ethel since January and beginning on 1 November 2017, Ethel Shin will be assuming the role of head of Worship Ministry with Cavelyn available as an advisor to her. Cavelyn will continue to mentor the potential worship leaders in her team till the end of December before she takes a complete rest.
WRPF thanks Cavelyn Tan for her faithfulness and commitment in her leadership of Worship Ministry these many years. Please give your support to Ethel Shin who is part of the pastoral staff. Do continue to pray also for all the members who contribute and serve faithfully in all aspects of work in the worship service, facilitating and enhancing the worship of God.
We are halfway through 2017. We thank God for what He has been doing in helping people grow deeper in prayer. We have exposed people to different methods of prayer, one or two of which would appeal to each member. We did this through sermons and through the Holy Week program. We believe in training our members how to feed themselves spiritually. More members are seeing the value of silence, solitude and prayer for an intimate fellowship with the Lord. They are incorporating new wine prayer practices into their life.
In addition, we are pleased to see what God is doing in leading God’s people to serve Christ outside the church walls. The 2017 Bangkok church camp is a watershed in that close to 150 people have now been exposed to teaching on bringing God’s compassion for the lost and the poor, and get involved ankle deep in serving the poor in a cross-cultural situation. It will be exciting to see how and where the “cloud” moves in the coming months. The SPO keeps in touch with Joseph Chean to co-discern with us the next step to take.
Overall all the congregations (English, Mandarin, Deaf) had heightened interest at their respective church camps and increased interest in missions, and all these accompanied by stable attendances with the Lord adding new members in the last six months.
In the English service, one of the prominent features of God’s work is the way more multi-generational teams work together to serve God’s purpose: the young adults leading with their seniors, as demonstrated in the pastoral team.
In the second half of the year, the English congregation will focus on developing two other important traits of a disciple: Members who learn to speak the truth in love, admonishing one another in gentleness and love (1Thess 5:14) and members with an overview of the Bible. We will revisit one of the greatest lacks in the modern church: the ability to speak the truth in love through “clean fighting”.
We look forward to our church anniversary service which we will hold in October. It will be a special time as it is our 45th year since the Lord planted this church. Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord! We praying and seeking God about the expression it should take. We have a thing or two that we are praying about.
Pray along with us in our church discipleship journey. Pray for the worship services and teams as it is the most well attended and regular meeting which God uses to shape our faith. Pray also for our cell leaders, core teams, and cells – this is where the Word is applied, life change takes place, and people cared and prayed for. Shalom!
What I have seen in 2016 are hopeful signs. I can see that the practice of prayer is slowly taking traction. People are now familiar with the importance of slowing down, of silence, solitude and reflection. Ancient methods of prayer such as lectio divina and the examen are slowly appreciated and practiced more and more. We have learned a lot in the sermons and workshops and practiced these in our personal life, cell groups and leadership platforms like Cell Leaders Training, Board of Elders, Leaders’ Planning Retreat, Staff Meetings. We press on in 2017 and will take out prayer resources old and new to help us develop a lifestyle of abiding.
The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Skills 2.0 was wisely halved to give more space and time for attitudes and skills to find root in our relationships. I have personally grown emotionally and am more able to speak the truth in love and I hope you have grown too, and we will continue to do so in 2017.
Another beautiful thing I see the Lord doing is the summons to serve Christ beyond church walls: out among the unreached peoples, out in the marketplace, and out in the community. We are mostly at the early stage of awareness, laying down foundational truths, and ankle deep exposures of serving outside church walls. Next year lets go knee deep in the river of God.
Overall a positive hopeful year. Thank you Jesus.
Pastor Kenny Chee
This is the time of the year we should carve time out for some reflection. I do this annually. Usually a half-day. Sometimes two half-days. I read the year’s journal entries and summarize what God has been doing, notice key processing moments, and the dominant affections.
What this does is to give me a sense of what God has been doing in and through me, how he has blessed me, what he has been teaching me.
Those who do not journal can also reflect. List down all your blessings of 2016, big and small, material, spiritual or relational. List down also all the difficult times of feeling frustrated, fearful, disappointed, sad, discouraged, stressed or upset.
Then bring the list of blessings before God, remember each of them, and with stirred gratitude, tell God, “Lord thank you so much” one by one.
Next bring the list of negatives to the Lord and converse with the Lord about the most dominant and common ones – whether it be work, relations with a difficult person, or a spiritual problem. Let God assure or teach you lessons or empower you to forgive or ask forgiveness where needed.
Finally, give a name to your year, make peace with the past, and ask God to increase your faith for the coming year.
Pastor Kenny Chee
A pastor who sells his services to the highest bidder; a callous businessman who chops up his dead mistress into pieces to incite tribal reaction; a society that applies pragmatic solutions to problems but instead spins off even more problems: the last 5 chapters of Judges gives us a graphic picture of what will happen to faith, morality and society when relativism reigns, and people do what is right in their own eyes, disregarding God’s absolutes. The world is in this downward spiral.
Our pulpit exploration into Judges has been interesting and probing. We were stunned by colorful characters and disgusting happenings. We felt the corruption and violence of a society that chose to go their own way instead of God’s ways, preferred idols to the true God, and stamped the Israeli judge-leaders with traces of its own degenerate culture.
The book of Judges prepares its readers for the next book: 1 and 2 Kings which show why and how Israel came to have kings, imitating the other godless nations. Even more, it points us away from disappointing flawed judge-leaders to the perfect Judge-Leader Jesus Christ who would one day deliver humans from the penalty of sins. And this is the message of Christmas: “She (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21)
Pastor Kenny Chee
Peter Scazzero wrote, “People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus”.
Discipleship is a slow process and it requires us to slow down and remove our modern expectations of instant results. Scazzero continues:
“The kingdom of God is a mustard seed that grows very slowly. What makes us think we can quickly grow our people for true, long-term kingdom impact? The people of Israel were freed from the slavery of Pharaoh by sheer grace. Yet their journey to actually break 400 years of generational sins that lived in their bones was a slow, difficult process that took 40 years”.
Granted we have the gospel and the Holy Spirit that the Israelites did not have. However, the evidence of Scriptures and our experience tell us discipleship is a slow process that requires us to slow down and sink our roots deep in the finished work of Christ, and spread our branches out in the many ways we relate to our God, and the fruit appear and are made available for people in need.
– Pastor Kenny Chee